Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Treasury of Bible Stories by Kelly Pulley - REVIEWED

About the book: Children ages 4-8 will be delighted by these rhyming Bible stories pairing spiritual truths with playful illustrations. Featuring lyrical stories full of lighthearted moments, this colorful collection of Magnificent Tales is perfect for reading out loud. As families read these stories night after night, they will make memories together while learning about the Bible.

My Thoughts:
"His friend all rejoiced as He floated to heaven.
Though Jesus had gone, He had left the eleven.
He'd told them to go and not hide as they's hid,
and to preach the good news to the world.
So they did"

The stories of the Bible, told in rhyme, illustrated with pictures that capture each moment....well, this is indeed a treasure!  Gather up your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews...children  who love to listen to a great story....and share the truth of God's Word!  This is the perfect way to introduce children to the stories that will shape their lives for all eternity!

This is a perfect gift for any Sunday School classroom or children's ministry!  And you will want to make this the foundation of your own children's library.  Stir the hunger for God's Word early, because God has promised that His Word will not return to him void.  He will cause this to take root and grow in the hearts and lives of children with faith to believe!

Treasury of Bible Stories is easy to read and will be very engaging with all of the kids in your life.  Children with love the illustrations and will easily retain the rhyming words!  This is, indeed, a treasure!  One am am happy to recommend to everyone!

Purchase Your Copy HERE

About the author: Kelly Pulley works from his middle Tennessee home writing and illustrating children's picture books, most recently Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn and The Cycling Wangdoos. He is best known for illustrating dozens of books in the Beginner's Bible series, including The Beginner's Bible (over 1.25 million copies sold).

Find Kelly online HERE and HERE!


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Curious Case of the Missing Figurehead by Diane Noble - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About the Book:
She's Passionate about Solving the Case ... with the Town's Life-Long Bachelor El Littllefield runs The Butler Did It catering. It's the perfect cover for her to solve "who-done-its" (nothing too dangerous, please!) in this small university town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While catering her most important event yet - a fancy retirement dinner for Dr. Max Haverhill, life-long bachelor and history dean - countless guests fall ill, a 200 year-old relic is stolen, and her best friend vanishes. All in the first hour. As El and Max race to solve the mystery - they discover there's more to their relationship than simply solving the case. Welcome to Eden's Bridge - the perfect small town setting for big intrigue, romance, and humor.

My Thoughts:
A wise person once told me that there are some things in life you can’t go around, you can’t go over, you can’t go under.  You have to go through.”  (p.371)

El Littlefield most definitely has to go through a LOT in Diane Noble latest addition to her offerings in the mystery genre – The Case of the Missing Figurehead!  As a matter of fact, this is the beginning of a new series entitled A Professor and Mrs. Littlefield.  What a combination Max and El make!  Don’t limit your expectations to those that happily inhabit a cozy mystery either!  Diane has included a very unexpected element of duplicity – duplicity born of desperation from a heart that has waded into the murky depths of depravity and greed and becomes unable to turn around!

But I am getting ahead of myself!  The mystery seems to be rather straightforward – the protection of a WWII figurehead being tantamount.  Then the layer of business acumen and the desire to preserve a floundering business.  This layer is followed by a mysterious illness and possible murder…and the layers continue to deepen.  There comes a point where you can’t help but believe dear ‘ole El has waded into the investigative waters too deeply!

And she almost does.  Well, she comes perilously close to losing her life at least a couple of time before you reach the final page!!  All I can say is that El’s influence on Max – the professor extraordinaire -  is astounding to say the least!  And that’s just the icing on the cake!  You will really be satisfied by Diane’s story!  You will come to care a lot for her very eclectic but lovable characters, and you will be left wanting more! What a great combination, right?!  I highly recommend this novel to everyone!

About the Author:
Award-winning novelist Diane Noble spent most of her first eighteen years in a small mountain village in the High Sierra back country near Yosemite National Park. Growing up among towering pines and rushing waterfalls provided Diane a rich setting in which to let her vivid imagination soar. Her first novel was published in 1994 under the pseudonym Amanda MacLean with four more following in quick succession. She began writing under her own name in 1998, with the publication of one of her most popular works of historical fiction, THE VEIL. THE SISTER WIFE, book one of her new Brides of Gabriel series, is now in bookstores everywhere. Keep in touch with Diane at www.dianenoble.com, http://www.facebook.com/dianenoblebooks, and http://twitter.com/dianenoble.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Whosoever South Come On In!!

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Whosoever South, the pioneers of Country Crunk, return October 7th with their all-new studio album, COME ON IN. The album will be released by Pit Bull Productions in association with Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Distribution. 

Partnering up with A-List producers, such as Asaf Fulks, Dirty Rice, Andy Sheridan and industry veteran KJ-52, Whosoever South continues to create a sound all their own. COME ON IN is packed with traditional hip-hop and a backwoods flare, mixing inner city styles with banjo, harmonica and dobro – all centered around a clear Gospel message.

Comprised of Rowdy, Sarah and Mike, Whosoever South’s humble beginnings and diverse backgrounds testify to the fact that God can indeed use all things. Since the group’s formation in 2008, the trio released three underground albums before making their worldwide debut in 2013 with the album, Goin' Home. An immediate hit, the group has been breaking down barriers and impacting lives by sharing the truth that needs to be known. “We all have one thing in common,” says Sarah. “We all need Jesus. Some folks just don't know it yet.” 

“My hope for this album is that folks will be introduced to a new style of music and lifestyle, but most importantly they will be introduced to my Savior, Jesus Christ,” says Rowdy. 

Whosoever South was Christian Music’s biggest surprise of 2013. Their unique blend of country and hip-hop quickly caught the attention of many industry insiders. The early buzz for what started as a truly independent album release led to an eleventh hour retail distribution deal with Elevate Entertainment and Syntax Distribution, and a major management deal with Nashville-based Michael Smith & Associates.

Before long, critics were raving about the band’s genre-bending blend of country and hip-hop, calling Goin’ Home one of the best albums of the year. The group made their live television debut on Canada’s 100 Huntley Street, before heading out on a U.S. media tour that landed them on media outlets from coast to coast. UP TV even masterminded an exclusive music video pairing Whosoever South’s single, “All the Time,” with footage from the network’s hit original series, Bulloch Family Ranch. 

For more information, visit the official website at www.whosoeversouth.com.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Song - A Movie Review

There is nothing in this world that won’t go away, even joy.  My only hope is that there’s something bigger than this world.”  Rose to Jed

The Song is not a movie I will soon forget.  It is both a blessing and a curse that I was asked to preview this movie.  Song of Solomon addresses many, if not all, areas of sin in our lives and he concludes that there is nothing new under the sun – especially as it concerns marital infidelity.  So, the King family has a couple of generations to fight this battle. 

The viewer gets enough of a look into the life of David King (Jed’s dad) to know that he made bad choices in his marriage.  Although Jed was raised with a legacy of infidelity, he had a strong faith when he married.  And then….Song of Solomon…..

Suffice it to say, at the point where his wife tells him that her hope is in something bigger than this world, she has endured hell and back.  Truth is, until infidelity has rocked your world you have NO IDEA what that feels like.  Sadly, I know this all too well as my 22-year marriage ended a couple of years ago, and there were some scenes in this movie that I could not watch the first time through.  It was too real and too raw.  So in that sense, this movie does a stellar job at presenting a very difficult subject matter.

While I know the intent of the movie is to provide healing and open doors to struggling marriages, I am NOT a fan of the overall message of the movie!  In the life of David King redemption seems to come through the marriage to the woman he was unfaithful with. That made me want to vomit.  And then Jed…well we don’t really know what reconciliation looked like other than it began with a sappy song and a simple “I’m sorry.”  That is NOT REALITY FOLKS!!  No woman alive would be that naive.  Well, I hope not anyway. (Jed's issues were NOT simple!)

It’s really difficult to tell you to watch this movie.  For those who have never walked this path, I fear they will receive a faulty and damaging view of this subject.  For those like myself who have lived through this hell, they will probably either walk out altogether or be so upset that they won’t be able to drive home. I’m thankful I was in my own home when I viewed it and could skip ahead or stop it all together.

This film is not overtly Christian, but you have just enough of a faith element to know that without God this is an utter impossibility to overcome.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason - REVIEWED

About the Book:
She thought her days of hiding were over . . . but the danger has just begun
The day Danielle Harding takes her eleven-year-old son and flees from her abusive husband is the same day Kurt Harding dies. A relieved Dani believes she and her son are finally safe--but in reality, things are just heating up. When Kurt was alive, he took something important from a mysterious individual--who wants the item back and believes Dani now has it. As she and her son run for their lives, they have nowhere to turn, until she hires Adam Buchanan of Operation Refuge and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, she won't be able to hide for long . . . 

From the first breathless scene, this tension-laced story will hold you in its iron grip as bestselling author Lynette Eason propels you along in a race to discover the truth.

My Thoughts:
How has she surrounded herself with such deviant people?”  (p.280)

Danielle Harding asks this question at the point when every single thing in her life has been turned upside down and inside out – everything except her precious eleven-year-old, Simon.  Lynette Eason just about gave me a heart attack (pun intended) in her latest novel, No Where to Turn.  The meaning of the title becomes apparent almost immediately when you learn the details of Dani’s circumstances.  And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse – it does!

All I can say is that if you pick up this book it will interrupt your life a bit! Well, maybe a lot!  Lynette Eason’s name just means suspense!  I’ve read every one of her books and this one…is really great!  And every single time you turn around there is another twist in the plot!  And another bad guy that jumps from the shadows!! And these guys are really evil and they look like good guys…so beware!  Don’t trust anyone in this book!  Well, except Simon.  Precious Simon.  He was the only piece of normal in this entire novel.  Seriously!!

I refuse to give away one moment of the suspense!  This is a thrill-ride of a read!  Don’t miss it!!

About the Author:
Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series and the Deadly Reunions series, as well as No One to Trust. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She has a master's degree in education from Converse College and she lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A View From Gina Holmes' Window - Driftwood Tides

Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes.  Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.

Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.

Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?

Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe J)

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?

It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

The novel you’ve written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite?

Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?

Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much  you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

Where can readers find your books and more about you?

Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

About the Book:
A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.
For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother. 

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength. 

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.
My Thoughts:
It’s the knife-edge moment when life on one side of the blade is most vivid because death on the other side of a razor-thin margin is so near.”  (p. 213)

Jeremiah Prins is only 10-years old when the Japanese usher him into a horrible series of knife-edged moments. In 1942 the Japanese ushered Dutch families into camps that were little more than a holding pen for folks waiting to die.  At least it seemed like every day was lived with a very vivid uncertainty that you would live to see another day.  Jeremiah’s story is told from a young man’s point of view, and most of the story retains the na├»ve innocence of youth, because the details that were witnessed by the young people simply didn’t have the understanding to process all that was happening around them.

However, Jerimiah’s mother understood only too well, and her existence within the camp was hell on earth as she lost one member of her family after another.  The things families had to do to survive were rather brutal.  What makes this tale painfully poignant is the fact that part of Jeremiah’s story is told from a place in his life where memory is failing and he is trying to make some sort of peace with his childhood memories while he retains enough cognizance to pass those memories on to the next generation.  The process of remembering and setting things right is as brutal  - in many ways – as the experiences of his childhood.

For me, Thief of Glory was a valuable lesson in, what was for me, a little known part of the terrors that were contained within the Second World War.  What really made this story come alive was to know that the story is based upon the lives of the author’s family members (specifically, his father). I will close with a statement that contains a life-truth that we can all carry forward with us:  “Against any horror that we may face in this world, and in the face of knowledge that for each of us time is a thief of glory, what matters most and what gives meaning to our lives and deaths is love and hope, if we are willing to share and accept.”  (p 319)  This is a significant and transformational story that I would recommend to everyone!

About the Author:
Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen novels with nearly three million copies in print. His recent novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC's Good Morning America. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.